Taylor McKenzie Gerlach set a goal for herself: For the darkest month of the year, she would bike every trip that was 30 minutes or less. She was new to bike commuting during a Seattle winter, but she found inspiration and help from middle school science teacher Jessica Levine. Levine was featured in an excellent Commute Seattle video in 2022.
Taylor documented the experience for Outside, and it’s wonderful. It sounds a lot like my first winter biking in Seattle, which was the experience that inspired me to start this blog. There are challenges, of course, but the rewards are plentiful and perhaps unexpected.
I won’t lie, traveling exclusively by bike during Seattle’s winter sounded questionable on paper. But once I tried it, it wasn’t all damp leggings, waterlogged socks, and sweaty puffy jackets. My month-long experiment kicked off with some rules: if Apple Maps told me a location was accessible in 30 minutes or less aboard my nineties steel frame mountain bike, then I’d be biking, rain or shine.
The end of daylight savings time hit hard this year. As sunsets marched back towards 4 P.M., my energy levels sank. Prying myself from bed each morning felt like an Olympic event, and and my productivity surfaced in fickle waves throughout the day. Perhaps mandated movement and fresh air would break up my days and unlock consistent energy. If anything was going to save me from the deep winter blues known in the region as the “Big Dark,” I told myself, maybe it was bike commuting.